How To Create an Oriental, Chinese, Japanese Garden

If you want to create a Chinese or Japanese styled garden, David Coton has plenty of ideas and inspiration for ornaments, structures and plants that will provide a wonderful oriental feel.

Created by David Coton on Thursday, 7th of April, 2016.
Updated on Tuesday, 1st of May, 2018.


How to Create an Oriental, Chinese, Japanese Garden

Calmness and serenity, many people seek those attributes when planning a garden that will provide an escape from the stress of modern life.

A peace of quietness and beauty that gives you space for relaxation and contemplation. An oriental garden is designed to provide this refuge tinged with eastern mysticism. 

Oriental gardening at its simplest can be divided into two categories. Firstly tsukiyami, which is a hill garden and mainly composed of hills and ponds, and secondly hiraniwa, which is basically the exact opposite of tsukiyami, this being a flat garden without any hills or ponds.

Oriental Water Features

There’s nothing quite as calming as the shimmering sound of flowing water. Oriental garden ornaments, fountains and water features come in many guises, some in the shape of Buddhas or pagodas, or they may be just pleasing sculptural forms. All of them will offer the ethereal trickling of water reflecting eternal values.

The picture illustrating this article was taken by myself last summer in our Japanese garden at our Sutton Coldfield garden centre in Birmingham. Although a lot smaller than when it was originally built it still contains at its heart a pond and waterfall feature.

Buddha Statues

Buddhism and gardening have an intertwined history. The patience and hard work demanded in fashioning a garden resulting in paradise. Constructing a rock garden would follow ancient Japanese tradition together with a lantern-lined gravel path leading to enlightenment. An image of Buddha is also entirely appropriate and can provide a focal point for the garden if placed in a respectful position.

Traditionally the Buddha should look to the north, preferably on a plinth away from the ground and in a particularly serene location. As the Buddha is often depicted sitting on a lotus flower this could be near a water lily covered pond populated with koi carp. These fish are ornamental varieties of the common carp bred in a multitude of virtually limitless colours and patterns with Ghost koi becoming very popular in the United Kingdom over recent years.

If you do build a rock garden there are numerous rules and guidelines to follow. The selection and placement of rocks is most important, one theory is that there should be more horizontal than vertical stones, do not place them in straight lines or symmetrical patterns as randomly placed rocks produce spontaneity.  Other principles cover colour, shape and size and you realise that this is an extraordinary subject that deserves greater research.

Oriental Pagodas and Lanterns

Pagodas are another icon from the East that can be readily incorporated into an oriental garden. They are simply tiered towers with multiple eves, traditionally with an odd number of levels. Most had a religious function and were built near Buddhist temples. There are now more manageably sized stone cast replicas available that do not require planning permission. Or you could choose a larger wooden version as a centrepiece to the garden that would be perfect for dining or entertaining.

Other structures that add to the authenticity of your garden might be Chinese Tea House to relax in during a sunny afternoon or a pergola, free-standing or adjoining your house, that acts as an effective frame for flower displays or climbers. Hanging baskets and lanterns may be suspended from the roof enabling your garden to be filled with light and colour.

Japanese style garden benches may be placed around the garden with tetsubachi water basins and why not protect your tranquil setting from bad khama with a Foo Dog or Chinese guardian lion. These have traditionally stood in pairs in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, tombs and temples and are believed to be powerful protectors.

Correct Planting is Essential

In Buddhism planting represents fertile and blossoming ideas and the overriding consideration is that of harmony and simplicity. The garden must have hidden places to explore perhaps by gracefully arched bridges that are such an important element and careful planting creates a backdrop to garden features or forms an individual scene. Formal flower beds were uncommon but are now accepted while topiary and the shaping of plants and trees has always been important in creating an idealised natural panorama.

Japanese Cherries will offer colour and fragrance in abundance; acers and azaleas contribute stunning red, purple, orange and yellows that can be balanced by cool grasses and bamboos; magnificent wisterias, magnolias and hydrangeas contrast with evergreen pines and junipers to produce an amazing choice of flower and foliage.

Landscape gardener Seyemon Kusumoto wrote that the Japanese generate ‘the best of nature's handiwork in a limited space.’ And that will be your fascinating task.

You can view a huge range of oriental garden ornaments for home delivery on the GardenSite website.

Related Articles

How To Achieve The Perfect Lawn

How To Achieve The Perfect Lawn

The centrepiece to the majority of gardens is the lawn and, especially if you have children, it doesn't always appear as the verdant sward that we all dream about. Your lawn needs as much, if not more, care and attention as other elements of your garden, and David Coton has this advice to keep it in the best condition.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 19th of April, 2019.

How Do I Construct And Maintain Timber Garden Decking?

How Do I Construct And Maintain Timber Garden Decking?

Timber garden decking never seems to lose its popularity, and why should it, when it's such a useful way of extending your living and entertaining space. Andy Taylor explains why decking is so easy to install and how best to look after it.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Thursday, 11th of October, 2018.

What Do I Need For A Great Halloween Garden Party?

What Do I Need For A Great Halloween Garden Party?

You can create the spookiest Halloween Party in town with a spine chilling cast of para-normal misfits including ghosts, ghouls, zombies, vampires and many other sinister characters who inhabit the dark side. David Coton tells you how to transform your home and garden into a thoroughly scary experience.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 10th of October, 2018.

GardenSite Secures Limited Henri Studio Stock

GardenSite Secures Limited Henri Studio Stock

GardenSite have secured the final delivery of Henri Studio cast stone garden ornaments to be distributed through Kelkay. We will be looking at ways of continuing to supply this popular range but at the moment we have only a limited amount of stock.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 24th of September, 2018.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

David Coton

Partner at GardenSite

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Review of the Juliana Urban City Greenhouse

Review of the Juliana Urban City Greenhouse

Robert Hall highlights the pros and cons to Juliana's new urban greenhouse range, reviewing the City, Balcony and Vertical greenhouse models after his first look at these fabulous new additions.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Thursday, 9th of May, 2019.

What To Do In The Garden In May

What To Do In The Garden In May

With the recent hot weather encouraging everyone out into the garden and the threat of frost disappearing during May, David Coton is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 30th of April, 2018.

Review of the new Elite Edge Greenhouse

Review of the new Elite Edge Greenhouse

Elite Greenhouses have always been at the forefront of new design combined with an unrivalled user-friendly experience and the Edge has got it all.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 5th of April, 2019.

Planned TV Gardening Programmes 2019

Planned TV Gardening Programmes 2019

There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, sound advice and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2019.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 13th of February, 2018.